A Brief Summary of the New Tech Model
New Tech is a model that reimagines the way teaching and learning has previously prepared students. New Tech uses a project-based learning approach that engages students in a dynamic, rigorous curriculum. Students use a pedagogical approach where they manage intricate projects, seek feedback, revise work, and reflect on their efforts. New Tech Network schools believe in preparing students on a global level with the knowledge and deeper learning skills they need to succeed in life, college, and the careers of tomorrow. Students learn to be resilient, patient, adaptable, persistent, and responsible through, as New Tech describes, “Teaching that engages, technology that enables, and a culture that empowers.”
Teaching that Engages
In project based learning (PBL) students engage in purposeful, collaborative projects requiring critical thinking, creativity, and communication during the learning process rather than the traditional method of a project being completed at the end of a unit. Students are motivated by learning through authentic, creative, and shared experiences. Instruction is facilitated by teachers directing what students know and need to know to complete a problem. Through this process, project based learning gives students the opportunity to develop the real life skills required for success in today’s world.
In PBL, students are given an entry document that frames the project challenge which provides a pathway of expectations. To ensure content is being taught, state content standards are embedded in each project. Groups are assigned and students sign a contract where they agree to roles and responsibilities based on various skill and personality characteristics before starting their work. The facilitator plans scaffolding activities to help students master content and skills. Students request to participate in workshops that stem from important need to know information. In concluding a project, students demonstrate their ability to successfully apply the content and skills through a final presentation. Throughout the project, stakeholders, experts, business partners, parents, or community members can be involved for teaching, assessing, or providing feedback on students work. Students will end each project through deep reflection to improve on their knowledge, performance, and final product for the future. By making learning relevant to them in this way, student engagement reaches new heights.
New Tech Network schools also use Problem-based learning. PrBL is a form of inquiry-based instruction used primarily in Mathematics that places the students in several smaller Problem scenarios rather than a single, large Project scenario. Supported by NCTM and the NSF, much of what makes PBL so successful is present in a PrBL environment, including Entry Events, the Need-to-Know (NTK) process, and student-centered scaffolding
Technology that Enables
New Tech Network schools strongly support the project based learning approach using 1:1 technology integration and investigation to engage students in authentic experiences. With access to Web-enabled computers and the latest in collaborative learning management system called Echo, every student becomes a self-directed learner, gaining valuable life skills when it comes to finding accurate and relevant knowledge to apply to their projects and problems. Students are encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills in integrated, cross disciplinary projects to create solutions and take action that further develops their capacity.
Culture that Empowers
New Tech Network schools create a culture where trust, respect, and responsibility are highly valued. With these values, schools build a strong foundation for collaboration. The culture of project based learning is about ownership of the learning and environment. Working on projects and in teams, students are experiencing responsibilities similar to that of a processional work atmosphere. To ensure that students develop the skills needed to be self-directed learners, teachers identify, scaffold and assess those outcomes. These New Tech learning outcomes include:
- Knowledge and Thinking
- Oral Communication
- Written Communication
- Agency (Time management, work ethic, persistence, etc.)
The NTN Student Outcomes Report 2015 offers compelling evidence that the public school innovation envisioned by New Tech Network can, and does, lead to success for students from diverse backgrounds, in rural, urban and suburban schools across the United States. New Tech students are prepared to be lifelong learners who are ready for college, career, and civic life.
The New Tech Network has 150 schools in 26 states, Australia, and China, including nine schools in South Carolina. Currently, the three schools below are implementing the New Tech model in Greenville County Schools. For more information about their individual programs, please click in the links.
You can learn more about the New Tech organization by visiting their website at http://www.newtechnetwork.org/